Decubitus Ulcers in Long Term Care Specialty Hospitals

Statistics for decubitus ulcer (bedsore) formation in long-term-acute-care hospitals are alarming. Not coincidentally, these long term care hospitals are springing up like wildfire across the country. Unfortunately for long term care hospital patients, the care provided is often times subpar, which can lead to the formation of decubitus ulcers.

So What is a Decubitus Ulcer?

Stage 4 Decubitus Ulcer

This decubitus ulcer photograph shows a Stage 4 decubitus ulcer

A decubitus ulcer is the medical term for a bedsore. It can also be referred to as a pressure sore, pressure wound or decubiti. The decubitus ulcer wound forms due to staff neglect at the hospital. Specifically, when a patient cannot shift their weight independently, it is the role of the nurse or caregiver to reposition the patient. This must be done at least every 2 hours. Developing a decubitus ulcer in a long term care hospital is a telltale sign of neglect, as these types of wounds should never occur. Decubiti are staged by severity; a stage 1 decubitus ulcer is a reddened spot with intact skin while a stage 4 decubitus ulcer is a deep cavernous wound with full thickness loss.

What is a “Long Term Care Hospital”?
A long term care hospital (LTCH) or long term acute care hospital (LTACH) is a rapidly growing concept. In the 1980’s, there were fewer than 10 long term care hospitals in the US. Now LTACH’s treat over 200,000 patients a year. Medicare defines a long term care hospital as hospitals who are certified in acute care, but focus on a patient population that is expected to stay inpatient for more than 25 days. Some examples of long term care hospital chains include Select Medical Hospital, Kindred Hospital, Vibra Healthcare, etc.

Select Specialty Hospitals are opening up everywhere, and their stock is rising.

Select Specialty Hospitals are opening up everywhere, and their stock is rising.

Statistics on Decubitus Ulcers in Long Term Acute Care Hospitals
As mentioned above, long term acute care hospital facilities are rapidly expanding around the US. Recently, a New York Times article exposed long term care hospitals as for-profit quasi-hospitals, packing patients into rooms without even providing doctors on location overnight. The article details that long term care hospitals are cited by state authorities 2 to 4 times as often as traditional hospitals. Decubitus ulcers are also much more likely at long term care hospitals, such as Select Hospital. A congressional study finds that LTCH’s spend less on patient care, intake a sicker patient population, and typically have higher profit margins versus traditional hospitals. As expected, with cost cutting and sicker patients, more bedsores develop in Select Specialty Hospitals than regular hospitals.

What Should I do if my Family Member Develops a Decubitus Ulcer in a Long Term Acute Care Hospital?
If you notice a pressure sore on a loved one in a long term care hospital, make sure that all the nurses know about it. Demand that they turn and reposition the patient frequently in order to heal/prevent deterioration in the wound. If the wound does not improves, it can be lethal to the patient. Once your loved one has adequate medical attention, focus on taking numerous decubitus ulcer pictures on your phone or camera, over a period of weeks. This will allow you to document the progression of the wound if the hospital ‘loses’ its photos. Lastly, consult with a decubitus ulcer attorney so that you can learn more about your rights in pursuing a decubitus ulcer lawsuit against a long term acute care hospital.

If your family member developed a decubitus ulcer in Select Hospital, Kindred Hospital, Vibra Hospital, or a similar long term care hospital, call (561) 316-7207 for a free case evaluation. 

Vibra Healthcare Decubitus Ulcer Kindred Decubitus Ulcer Select Specialty Hospital Decubitus Ulcer

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